Published: 24th Apr 2014

The public is suddenly looming larger in the public services debate. Think tanks on the left are making the case for a shift to a more ‘relational’ model of public services. Echoing Jon Cruddas’s rallying call, they argue that increasingly complex social problems cannot be done justice by modes of public service commissioning and delivery that are stuck in the New Public Management mindset we were supposed to have left behind. On the right, we are seeing a sustained push to embed choice, competition and market mechanisms in which money, power and services more obviously follow the citizen. Reforms to health and education are, to a certain extent, based on this premise. The citizen-as-activist rhetoric of the big society has been buried but not quite forgotten. Reducing dependence on (and therefore the cost of) public goods remains a core if sometimes implicit goal. What the left lacks is a strong … (To read the full article, subscribe below)